That sense of familiarity when you handle financial aspects of your life.  The feelings of “here we go again” when you get an expected bill.  Or the giddy excitement when you receive money unexpectedly.  Up and down.  These aspects reflect your relationship to money.  And when you are dealing with something of a financial nature, do you notice how you refer back to how you handled a similar event?  Well, this is your money narrative in action.

Your money narrative (or money story) is essentially your beliefs, attitudes, and experiences related to money that have shaped your financial behaviours and decisions over time.

Our mental filtration system uses the logic of past experiences to inform present circumstances requiring action.  So if you dealt with money in a certain way in the past, regardless of its outcome, your recall brings this up as potential action.  If you are not conscious of it, you’ll just literally run with it.  Again and again.  This leads us to making statements  like “I’ll never have enough money.”  which are limiting.

I wonder if you’ve already started to think back to your own memories of money.  You might go back to your earliest memory.  It might have been when you were young and witnessed an interaction between your parents around money.  Can you see a pattern emerging?  Consider the different behaviours around money between your parents, guardians, friends, etc…How have these observations affected your own attitudes and behaviours, forming beliefs that might or might not be yours, even!

Our “storytelling” cements our decision making so that we begin to see a “If I…Then…” rules around money management (even if I see a bill, then I won’t open it is a “rule”).

When I first start working with a client, I ask them to tell me the story of their money.  How did they first meet? How has their relationship evolved as they individuated from their primary caregivers into the adult that they are today?  Getting people aware and comfortable about money is the first steps towards transforming their relationship with money.

When I started my career in North America, we got paid fortnightly and I used to run out of money consistently before payday.  It was as if I had trained my spending decisions around using up all my money before the next tranche.  And, being 22 years old at the time, this was just an extension of my allowance spending pattern!  If I ran into debt, my parents would help.  I hadn’t individuated that aspect of my life away from my parents.  These patterns are hardwired and it’s important to see them, if you want greater control and mastery over money.

Becoming aware of the existence of a money story running in the background of your mind is the first step towards working at improving the flow of money in your life.

We all have a narrative around money.  The point is to be aware of the beliefs and attitudes that make up this narrative, and whether or not it is serving to attract money into your life.

If you’ve never thought about your money story before, or if you want to review your current narrative, then here are some prompts:

Reflect on your early experiences with money: Think about your earliest memories related to money. What were the messages you received about money from your parents or caregivers? Did you grow up with financial struggles or abundance? How did these early experiences shape your beliefs about money?

Consider your current financial situation: Assess your current financial situation, including your income, expenses, savings, and debt. Think about how your current financial state is related to your past experiences with money.

Identify your financial habits: Pay attention to your daily financial habits, such as how you spend money, save money, and think about money. What are your patterns? Do you tend to overspend, or are you very frugal? Do you have a consistent savings plan, or do you struggle to save?

Explore your emotions related to money: Money can be a sensitive topic for many people, so it’s important to explore how you feel around the subject of money. What emotions come up for you when you think or talk about money? Do you feel anxious, stressed, or confident?

Emotions play a significant role in how we handle money.  It is our feelings about money that impact our financial decisions and behaviours. Here are some ways in which emotions can be related to money:

  • Fear: Fear is a common emotion related to money, particularly when it comes to financial insecurity or uncertainty. For example, fear of losing a job or fear of not being able to pay bills can lead to anxiety and stress. This can lead to behaviours like hoarding money, avoiding financial decisions, or being overly cautious with spending.  You can fear not fitting in with your peer group if you don’t earn the same or carry more debt, leading you toward financial infidelity (lying about your financial situation).
  • Guilt: Guilt is another common emotion related to money, particularly when it comes to spending. For example, you may feel guilty about buying something you don’t necessarily need, or guilty for spending money on yourself when you feel like you should be saving or investing it. Guilt can lead to a sense of shame or embarrassment around money, which can impact your financial decisions.
  • Happiness: On the other end of the spectrum, happiness and excitement can also be related to money. For example, receiving a raise or bonus can lead to feelings of joy and satisfaction. This can lead to behaviours like increased spending or splurging on a purchase you’ve been wanting.
  • Anxiety: Anxiety can be related to money in a variety of ways, from worrying about paying bills on time to feeling overwhelmed by debt. This can lead to avoidance behaviors or feeling paralyzed when it comes to making financial decisions.
  • Confidence: Confidence is an important emotion when it comes to money, particularly when it comes to making financial decisions or taking risks. Feeling confident in your financial knowledge or ability to handle money can lead to behaviors like investing in the stock market or starting a business.

It’s important to recognize and understand the emotions related to money, as they can impact our financial decisions and behaviors. By being aware of our emotions and how they relate to money, we can make more informed decisions and develop healthier financial habits.

Consider your Money Personality: Sometimes, it can be difficult to identify your own money story, so consider doing the Sacred Money Archetypes Quiz. Your results may be able to help you see things you didn’t see before or to look at your money ecosystem from a new perspective.

By taking these steps, you can start to uncover your money story and gain a deeper understanding of how your beliefs and experiences have shaped your financial behaviours and decisions.

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